I’ve been working with Matt Earls at UP Fitness since August with the goal of getting into the best physical condition in my life whilst doing so in a manner that’s sustainable in the long term.
What’s interesting about gym work is the parallels in business, and vice versa too. Three key lessons so far:
1. Develop a perfect technique
I was surprised at the low weights Matt started me on – I knew I could lift heavier – but the reason has since become very clear: develop a perfect technique before adding additional load. UP Fitness has as a core philosophy, the idea of causing clients to develop excellent habits: by focussing on the technique at the outset, it ensures that this is maintained without conscious effort once the workload increases. My sense is that this applies to activities such as prospecting, client management and other aspects of business. Rather than focussing on volume instead concentrate on the desired behaviour, get really good at it and then increase the frequency.
2. Variety and consistency in equal balance
It’s a paradox that people supposedly dislike change and yet would hate to do the same thing day after day. In the gym I have three different programmes for my three visits a week and these change every four to six weeks determined by my progress. This allows me to get proficient and yet just as I have that feeling of having cracked it the programme changes and whilst not back to square one there is a new set of challenges to be mastered. This sort of programme is ideal for many people in the workplace, perhaps having certain tasks/roles that are consistent but with projects every quarter that not only ring the changes but keep engagement high and add to personal development.
3. Start and end each session really well
In a typical session there are four sets of exercises each one completed four times with typically 6-12 repetitions with additional weight being added for sets 3 and 4. Before the session starts though the key exercises, typically two from the four, are used as a warm up with low weights and repetitions – the idea being to wake up the nervous system and to prepare for what’s coming. I like this idea and how it can be applied in business – think of the most important things you have to do that day and start really well, for example if prospecting make one call and then fully review it immediately afterwards to ensure you’re really well set for the next 45 minutes of intense call outs. The final part of a session at UP Fitness is often on the track using an evil piece of kit called “the prowler” – this is guaranteed to take me to breaking point, when I’ve given my all and there’s nothing left. Whilst this feeling is quite awful at the time, within 20 minutes I feel rejuvenated to another level and super fit to take on the challenges and opportunities of the day.
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